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Analyst expounds on food packaging trends

Esther Palevsky, an analyst for the Freedonia Group, listed the following as key food packaging trends:

• Packs for preseasoned meat and poultry or for making fajitas exemplify packaged foods that are easy to prepare.

• Portability is best represented by packaged goods that fit a cup holder or that can be microwaved.

• Self-heating cans, like Wolfgang Puck’s latte, are another product with a focus on convenience. Soup and baby food may also be appropriate products for a self-heating can.

• Canmakers are trying to differentiate with resealable features, and shaped cans for products like soups. There have been developments in bottle shapes that are more rectangular or square to better fit into refrigerator doors.

• More products are moving from rigid to flexible. People want to use a pouch because it’s a more compact package. But you do see some shift over to rigid from flexible in salty snacks.

• There have been more aseptic applications in the last few years. These probably take [market share] from rigid and flexible packs because they don’t need refrigeration [prior to opening]. Many also have reclosable tops for convenience.

• Retorted flexible packages, such as those for tuna and other seafood, are becoming more accepted in the market.

• Fresh produce is an area where there’s a need for advanced films. A head of lettuce packed in a standard film is a commodity item. Precut salads now use specialty films that can keep the product from browning for a longer time. —Jim Butschli

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